Man gets life sentence for killing baby girl
A man who killed a baby girl has been given a mandatory life sentence at Dungannon Crown Court for murder and put on the sex offenders’ register.
The child’s mother has been acquitted of involvement in the killing.
Mr Justice Stephen Barry told McCarney that his “despicable crime is almost beyond understanding”. Mr Justice Stephens also told McCarney: “This jury has clearly understood, and you for your part should understand, you are going to prison for a very long period of time.”
McCarney (33), Woodview Crescent, Trillick, Co Tyrone, displayed no emotion at his conviction yesterday, which came just a week short of the anniversary of baby Millie Martin’s death on December 11th, 2009, from massive head injuries.
Rachael Martin (28) wept uncontrollably in the dock as she was acquitted of involvement in the death of her 15-month-old toddler. Hugging her sides and swaying, she repeated over and over,“thank you, oh thank you”, before adding: “Justice has been done for my daughter.”
Ms Martin, Main Street, Kesh, who maintained she had done everything to protect her “angel”, was cleared of allowing McCarney to kill her daughter and of wilfully neglecting her during the three months they were lovers. The jury rejected defence claims it was the child’s mother who was really guilty. Eilis McDermott QC, defending, had claimed that McCarney was an innocent, unaware that Millie’s mother “didn’t want the doctor, the social services involved, not because Mr McCarney was doing these terrible things with her permission, but that she was doing these things herself”.
It had taken the jury just under three hours to reach their unanimous verdicts which were greeted with muted cheers and air-punches by family and friends of Ms Martin in the packed public gallery. Mr Justice Stephens, while jailing McCarney for life, will hold a tariff hearing in the new year to determine how long he will have to serve before it is considered safe for him to be released. During the 10-week trial, the court heard that in addition to the fatal blow to the back of her head, Millie had suffered a multitude of other injuries, including horrific internal injuries which could have proved just as fatal. Those injuries had been caused by punching or prodding not only in the weeks, but possibly even in the hours before her death.
The baby also had 21 cracked ribs. According to specialists seven were old and healing, while a further 14 were less than 10 days old and still fresh.
There were also multiple bruises and an oval lump on her forehead, which was clearly visible in the weeks leading to her killing.
Millie had also been subjected to a sexual assault which it was suggested may have been caused by a punch to her genital area, as opposed to actual penetration.